HC Deb 08 December 1964 vol 703 c1301
12. Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

asked the Minister of Power if he will make a statement on the extent to which the impetus behind the drive for clean air and smokeless zones is being arrested by the dearth of suitable fuel at suitable prices.

Mr. John Morris

I am not aware of a general shortage of suitable fuels. While gas coke may not be available in some parts of the country there should be ample supplies of other smokeless fuels, some of which may cost no more to use than gas coke.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that a bag of ordinary coal costs 10s., whereas a bag of smokeless fuel costs 14s., and that this makes smokeless zones very unpopular, particularly with old people, and puts local authorities which are doing their best to carry out a clean air programme in a very awkward situation? Will he do something to remove the discrepancy between the prices of coal and smokeless fuel which people are obliged to burn in these zones?

Mr. Morris

I have no power to control prices. This is a matter for the producers, who are in active competition with each other, and can be relied on not to endanger their own markets.